September 10, 2013 WWRHAH meeting notes

Here are the notes from our September 10, 2013 WWRHAH meeting at the SW Branch of the library on 35th SW. Thanks to the West Seattle Blog, if you click here, they have a fantastic write up on the meeting and also video of nearly all of it. On with the notes!

Community news:

SDOT/Infrastructure Committee update:

Chris Stripinis briefed us on where things stand. We’re currently, for better or worse, in hurry up and wait mode.

  • Chris briefed the North Highline Unincorporated Council about the study, and their group had concerns about what Seattle would or wouldn’t do. According to SDOT, the City of Seattle is responsible for and own Roxbury all the way up to the county-side curb line. Some folks in the NHUC meeting had a question: did the ongoing perpetual annexation talk have anything to do with this, and the city seeming to be willing to finally take some actions? We’re not really sure what politics on any back channels played a role here.

Roxhill Day planning: 

 

We talked a bit about planning ideas for a possible Roxhill Day and will be reaching out to Parks and some involved people for feedback. The grant application for this cycle is October 7th, so we really need to pick up the pace on this soon unless we want to push this back to an autumn 2014 event. If you’d like to help out on planning please email us ASAP.

Gettting It Right For West Seattle!:

Elena Gomez of this group (GIRFWS) came and talked with us briefly. Elena spoke about the group and the planned political City Council decision to vacate some public alleys to allow the Whole Foods developer to build their mega-building according to their planned design. GIRFWS aren’t opposed to the development, and want that property developed — just not the way that the developer wants it done.

Many small businesses have signed on in support of changing the development to fit the neighborhood better, and the group is pushing for the neighborhoods to have equal power to developers; and for food justice–eliminating food deserts (aka White Center, Delridge). The development will go to a Transportation Committee hearing in December at the earliest.

GIRFWS wants to compel City Council to not vote on this unless the developers agree to some community benefits in exchange the alley vacation–with those benefits to be negotiated with community stakeholders from West Seattle. GIRFWS did an online study about traffic density, transit and parking. It was pretty overwhelmingly opposed to what is happening in the Triangle area with the development’s as-is plan.

The recently passed emergency City Council legislation for minimum density won’t affect the CVS build out in that neighborhood — it’s already vested and grandfathered in. However, the design review board system may be able to affect the CVS build out, but might not. Sometimes it can change things but sometimes not. We all won’t know till it happens… or doesn’t.

Letter to the city, and suddenly a West Seattle Transit Coalition:

Last month, we wrote the following at the end of our meeting notes:

A letter to the City of Seattle, the Mayor, the City Council, and others on transit

There are three factors currently working in tandem to significantly worry a lot of people in West Seattle, that we have been talking about on and off for months in our meetings.

  1. The looming reduction of mass transit services region wide with the King County Metro funding crisis coming out of Olympia. All services will face up to a 17% cut in volume.
  2. This is only compounded for us in West Seattle, with the equally looming end of the Viaduct and the construction headaches that will cause for all of us soon.
  3. Third, the population because of increasing density (whether you’re a fan or not) in West Seattle is increasing, further straining transit — transit which may soon reduce, straining it even further.

Individually, any one of these things is a topic deep enough for a three hour meeting, or more. Put together? Again, regardless of what side you’re on about any of these issues, altogether they equal out to everyone coming out of West Seattle having a pretty awful commute very soon. Because of this, we are going to draft a letter, a call for answers and solutions on the city level, and this also is coming very soon. We hope to have a rough draft posted and circulating for feedback in a few days. We plan to take a very similar approach to this very complex problem as we took with the Roxbury safety position on July 21, 2013.

The initial idea came from an off the cuff comment in one meeting — if we’re going to get hit with all these 17% transit cuts due to Olympia’s legislative log jam not letting us pass a funding levy, why don’t we do something like Bellingham did when Whatcom county killed their own bus service and just pay for it ourselves, on the city level? That ballooned into writing a letter, which quickly ballooned into something else even bigger. WWRHAH, together with other neighborhood groups like ours across both the Southwest and Delridge Districts (the city has 13 total districts) have begun forming a West Seattle Transit Coalition (WSTC). 

The intent of this will be to communicate to the City, the City Council, City Council candidates, both Mayoral candidates, and all appropriate County officials are deep, deep frustration in West Seattle. We are one of the most overlooked communities in the city, in this area, and as illustrated in the three data points above, it’s only going to get worse.

The first meeting of the West Seattle Transit Coalition (WSTC) will be Tuesday, September 24th, starting at 630pm, at:

High Point Neighborhood House
6400 Sylvan Way SW
Seattle, WA 98126

The official announcement of this is here.

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